Friday, June 21, 2024

O’Leary’s horses in flying form at Irish Grand National

By Damien Maher

Mullingar’s Michael O’Leary had the first two horses home in Monday’s Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse, making for a fantastic achievement for the Gigginstown House Stud owner.
Monday’s victory marks another remarkable achievement for Ryanair boss, O’Leary, who was not only the owner of the winner, but the second and the fourth horses home in Irish racing’s biggest steeplechase. It was his second win in the race, following Hear the Echo’s triumph in 2008.
O’Leary was unable to attend but his brother Eddie revealed: “He’s watching it and jumping up and down at the moment.”
The winner, Thunder and Roses, was ridden by female jockey, Katie Walsh, who become only the third female jockey to win the prestigious race.
Thunder and Roses, a 20-1 shot, was followed home by Rule the World (also 20-1), while Band of Blood was back in fourth spot at 50-1.
The big race was worth €154,750 for the winner, while second place scooped €53,000. The fourth place prize was €9,000.
In what was an extraordinary scene, a wave of horses in the famous Gigginstown House Stud maroon and white colours raced for the second last fence and it looked for a time as if the Westmeath stable was on for an incredible first, second and third. However, Band of Blood was denied third spot by Sizing Coal.
Sandra Hughes, winning trainer, thanked Gigginstown House Stud for their support. “I have to give a big thanks to Michael and Eddie O’Leary (of Gigginstown) for letting me have the horse and train him for the Grand National,” she said.

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